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Movies

Crowds (and Pirates) Flock To 'The Interview' 3

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-win-oscar-for-best-viral-marketing-campaign dept.
Rambo Tribble writes: Many of the 300+ theaters showing The Interview on Christmas were rewarded with sell-out crowds. While reviews of the comedy have been mixed, many movie-goers expressed solidarity with the sentiment of professor Carlos Royal: "I wanted to support the U.S." Despite sellout crowds, the movie's limited release meant it only brought in about $1 million on opening day (compared to $10M+ for the highest-grossing films). Curiosity about the film seems high, since hundreds of thousands rushed to torrent the film, and others figured out an extremely easy way to bypass Sony's DRM.
Programming

Donald Knuth Worried About the "Dumbing Down" of Computer Science History 34

Posted by Soulskill
from the from-the-guy-who-made-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Thomas Haigh, writing for Communications of the ACM, has an in-depth column about Donald Knuth and the history of computer science. It's centered on a video of Knuth giving a lecture at Stanford earlier this year, in which he sadly recounts how we're doing a poor job of capturing the development of computer science, which obscures vital experience in discovering new concepts and overcoming new obstacles. Haigh disagrees with Knuth, and explains why: "Distinguished computer scientists are prone to blur their own discipline, and in particular few dozen elite programs, with the much broader field of computing. The tools and ideas produced by computer scientists underpin all areas of IT and make possible the work carried out by network technicians, business analysts, help desk workers, and Excel programmers. That does not make those workers computer scientists. ... Computing is much bigger than computer science, and so the history of computing is much bigger than the history of computer science. Yet Knuth treated Campbell-Kelly's book on the business history of the software industry (accurately subtitled 'a history of the software industry') and all the rest of the history of computing as part of 'the history of computer science.'"
Government

NSA Reveals More Than a Decade of Improper Surveillance 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-consistent dept.
An anonymous reader writes: On Christmas Eve, the NSA quietly dropped 12 years worth of internal reports on surveillance that may have broken laws, including reports that were illegally withheld and the subject of a FOIA lawsuit in 2009. "The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. ... In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst 'searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,' according to one report (PDF). The analyst 'has been advised to cease her activities,' it said. Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct. Last year, an analyst 'mistakenly requested' surveillance 'of his own personal identifier instead of the selector associated with a foreign intelligence target,' according to another report." Here's there list of reports going back to 2001.
Programming

MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the write-once-run-somewhere dept.
itwbennett writes: A new programming language out of MIT, called Ur/Web, provides a way for developers to write pages as self-contained programs. It incorporates many of the most widely-used web technologies, freeing developers from working with each language individually. Ur/Web's author, Adam Chlipala, an MIT computer science assistant professor, will present his work next month at the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages. He says, "In Ur/Web, everything is based on transactions, where a single client request is handled by what looks like an uninterrupted execution of a single function. The language implementation has optimizations in it to support running many requests in parallel, on real servers. But the programmer can pretend everything is a transaction and think in a simpler concurrency model."
PlayStation (Games)

Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the ruining-it-for-everybody dept.
DroidJason1 writes Early Christmas morning, hacker group Lizard Squad took credit for taking down PlayStation Network and Xbox Live for hours. This affected those who had received new Xbox One or PS4 consoles, preventing them from playing online. So why did they do it? According to an exclusive interview with Lizard Squad, it had to do with convincing companies to improve their security — the hard way. "Taking down Microsoft and Sony networks shows the companies' inability to protect their consumers and instead shows their true vulnerability. Lizard Squad claims that their actions are simple, take down gaming networks for a short while, and forcing companies to upgrade their security as a result."
Power

Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the betting-on-it dept.
Baldrson writes Kitco.com reports that: "Low energy nuclear reactor (LENR) technology, and by extension palladium, is attracting the attention of one of the richest men in the world and a pioneer inventor of new technology... In a recent visit to Italy, billionaire business man, investor and inventor Bill Gates said that for several years he has been a believer in the idea of LENR, and is a sponsor of companies developing the technology... During his trip to Italy he visited the national agency for new technologies energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) where scientists have made significant progress towards a working design for low energy nuclear fusion. The centerpiece of their design is the same as in Mitsubishi's, palladium. Creating palladium foil with just the right parameters, and managing stress levels in the material was a key issue, one that the researchers at EMEA were able to resolve several years ago."
Cellphones

Kodak-Branded Smartphones On the Way 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the shake-to-call dept.
An anonymous reader sends news about Kodak's latest attempt to come back from the grave. "For a while there it looked like Kodak's moment had come and gone, but the past few months have seen the imaging icon fight back from the brink of irrelevance. Now the company's planning to push a Kodak-branded smartphone, and thankfully it's not going to sue everyone in the business along the way this time. To be clear, Kodak won't actually make its own devices — instead, it's going to farm out most of the development work to an English company called Bullitt."
Sony

PlayStation Game-Streaming Service Comes To Samsung Smart TVs In 2015 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-in-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes Sony and Samsung are jointly launching the PlayStation Now game streaming service on select Samsung Smart TVs next year. The service will allow users to play PlayStation games without the need of a gaming console. From the article: "...Sony says some 200 PlayStation 3 games will be available to stream, and that the service runs at full functionality, specifically mentioning things like trophies, online multiplayer and cloud-saves for game-progress. Sound familiar? It should because that's how the service works on Bravia TVs and PlayStation game consoles. What's more, all you'll need is one of Sony's DualShock 4 gamepads to control the action."
NASA

NASA Makes 3-D Printed Wrench Model Available 75

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-your-own dept.
First time accepted submitter smsiebe writes You can now download a piece of history by getting the designs for the wrench that NASA recently emailed to astronauts on the ISS. The wrench took four hours to complete and was the first "uplink tool" printed in space. You can check out a number of models and images on NASA's 3D Resources site.
Security

Rackspace Restored After DDOS Takes Out DNS 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-again dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that Rackspace has recovered from a severe distributed denial of service attack. "Over on the company's Google+ page Rackspace warned of 'intermittent periods of latency, packet loss, or connectivity failures when attempting to reach rackspace.com or subdomains within rackspace.com.' The company's status report later confirmed it had '... identified a UDP DDoS attack targeting the DNS servers in our IAD, ORD, and LON data centers [North Virigina, Chicago and London]. As a result of this issue, authoritative DNS resolution for any new request to the DNS servers began to fail in the affected data centers. In order to stabilize the issue, our teams placed the impacted DNS infrastructure behind mitigation services. This service is designed to protect our infrastructure, however, due to the nature of the event, a portion of legitimate traffic to our DNS infrastructure may be inadvertently blocked. Our teams are actively working to mitigate the attack and provide service stability.'"
Security

South Korea Says Nuclear Reactors Safe After Cyberattacks 46

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-clear dept.
wiredmikey writes South Korea on Thursday ruled out the possibility that recent cyber-attacks on nuclear power operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) could cause a malfunction at any of the country's 23 atomic reactors. Earlier this week, South Korea heightened security in the wake of the leaks, with the defense ministry's cyber warfare unit increasing its watch-level against attacks from North Korean and other hackers. On Monday, KHNP launched a two-day drill, testing its ability to thwart a cyber attack.
User Journal

Journal: Merry Christmas! 1

Journal by mcgrew

For the first time in nine years I got to see my youngest daughter on Christmas; this is the first Christmas in nine years she didn't have to work. Great Christmas present!

And the second to last pre-publication copies came Christmas eve eve. I finished going through it this morning, and the book itself is ready. What wasn't was the cover; I fixed it and ordered another copy, so Mars, Ho! should be online in a couple of weeks.

Education

The World of YouTube Bubble Sort Algorithm Dancing 52

Posted by timothy
from the right-under-our-very-noses dept.
theodp writes In addition to The Ghost of Steve Jobs, The Codecracker, a remix of 'The Nutcracker' performed by Silicon Valley's all-girl Castilleja School during Computer Science Education Week earlier this month featured a Bubble Sort Dance. Bubble Sort dancing, it turns out, is more popular than one might imagine. Search YouTube, for example, and you'll find students from the University of Rochester to Osmania University dancing to sort algorithms. Are you a fan of Hungarian folk-dancing? Well there's a very professionally-done Bubble Sort Dance for you! Indeed, well-meaning CS teachers are pushing kids to Bubble Sort Dance to hits like Beauty and a Beat, Roar, Gentleman, Heartbeat, Under the Sea, as well as other music.
PlayStation (Games)

Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks Downed By Apparent Attack 147

Posted by timothy
from the no-fun-for-you dept.
mrspoonsi writes Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network [were] down this morning, apparently due to a denial-of-service attack. The notorious hacking group Lizard Squad — which already carried out earlier attacks on Microsoft and Sony — has claimed responsibility on Twitter for these latest outages. While the group's role in all of this remains unconfirmed, it's worth noting that the group threatened last week to take down Xbox Live and PSN, according to Business Insider. And again, Lizard Squad has already proven it can successfully pull off such attacks, not to mention other malicious pranks.

Whatever the cause, the timing is obviously terrible: Plenty of people surely received one of the two consoles as Christmas presents today, while many more gamers would have happily spent the afternoon in front of the TV. In the meantime, both Sony and Microsoft have acknowledged the problem, with Sony issuing a tweet and Microsoft posting a message on its support website: "We're working to address this as quickly as we possibly can," reads its status website. "Thanks for your patience, Xbox members." In an email, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment further or say when the company expects to restore service. We've also asked Sony to comment and will update this post if and when it does.
The Xbox Live status page says service remains "limited," and the Playstation Network is listed as offline.
The Military

US Navy Sells 'Top Gun' Aircraft Carrier For One Penny 102

Posted by timothy
from the nostalgia-for-war-porn dept.
HughPickens.com writes Kitsap Sun reports at Military.com that the USS Ranger, a 1,050-foot-long, 56,000-ton Forrestal-class aircraft carrier, is being towed from the inactive ship maintenance facility at Puget Sound for a 3,400-mile, around-Cape Horn voyage to a Texas dismantler who acquired the Vietnam-era warship for a penny for scrap metal. "Under the contract, the company will be paid $0.01. The price reflects the net price proposed by International Shipbreaking, which considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling," said officials for NAVSEA. "[One cent] is the lowest price the Navy could possibly have paid the contractor for towing and dismantling the ship."

The Ranger was commissioned Aug. 10, 1957, at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and decommissioned July 10, 1993, after more than 35 years of service. It was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on March 8, 2004, and redesignated for donation. After eight years on donation hold, the USS Ranger Foundation was unable to raise the funds to convert the ship into a museum or to overcome the physical obstacles of transporting the ship up the Columbia River to Fairview, Oregon. As a result, the Ranger was removed from the list of ships available for donation and designated for dismantling. The Navy, which can't retain inactive ships indefinitely, can't donate a vessel unless the application fully meets the Navy's minimum requirements. The Ranger had been in pristine condition, but for a week in August volunteers from other naval museums were allowed to remove items to improve their ships. The Ranger was in a slew of movies and television shows, including "The Six Million Dollar Man," "Flight of the Intruder" and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" where it stood in for the USS Enterprise carrier. But the Ranger's most famous role was in the 1980's Tom Cruise hit, "Top Gun." "We would have liked to have seen it become a museum, but it just wasn't in the cards," Navy spokesman Chris Johnson told Fox. "But unfortunately, it is a difficult proposition to raise funds. The group that was going to collect donations had a $35 million budget plan but was only able to raise $100,000."
Android

Nokia's Back In the Tablet Business, With the Android Lollipop-Based N1 45

Posted by timothy
from the serious-side-talkin' dept.
Esra Erimez writes It's been a little over a year since the announcement of Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of Finnish tech veteran Nokia Oyj.'s Devices unit. A year later Chinese leaks site SINA Tech says Nokia is back and ready to compete against its former unit, suggesting it will launch in China on Jan. 7. As one commenter on the Daily Tech story points out (as does this ExtremeTech article from last month), the not-yet-launched N1, with its "one piece aluminum body, 7.9", 2048*1536, [and] 3:4 aspect ratio" looks an awful lot like the iPad mini, but costs quite a bit less.
Open Source

Linux 3.19 Kernel To Start 2015 With Many New Features 62

Posted by timothy
from the presents-from-linus-and-friends dept.
An anonymous reader writes Linux 3.18 was recently released, thus making Linux 3.19 the version under development as the year comes to a close. Linux 3.19 as the first big kernel update of 2015 is bringing in the new year with many new features: among them are AMDKFD HSA kernel driver, Intel "Skylake" graphics support, Radeon and NVIDIA driver improvements, RAID5/6 improvements for Btrfs, LZ4 compression for SquashFS, better multi-touch support, new input drivers, x86 laptop improvements, etc.
Facebook

Federal Judge: Facebook Must Face Suit For Scanning Messages 46

Posted by timothy
from the we-were-only-doing-the-usual-peeking dept.
Rambo Tribble writes U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton on Tuesday denied Facebook's bid to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against the social media giant for violating users' privacy through the scanning of message content. In her rejection of Facebook's argument, the judge said the firm had, "...not offered a sufficient explanation of how the challenged practice falls within the ordinary course of its business."
Businesses

How Target's Mobile App Uses Location Tech To Track You 52

Posted by timothy
from the bullseye-on-your-back dept.
An anonymous reader writes Big-box retailers are figuring out how to use mobile apps to drive in-store sales, but they're also concerned about privacy. To see how they're doing, Xconomy took Target's app for a spin on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The app uses indoor location-mapping technology from a startup called Point Inside. The verdict? The app saved a few minutes in locating items around the store, but it would work better if it knew where shoppers (and the items on their lists) are at any time. With Apple's iBeacons set to roll out more widely, retail privacy will be a hot issue in 2015.
China

Inside China's 'Christmas Factory' Town, Yiwu 32

Posted by timothy
from the large-scale dept.
jones_supa writes China's manufacturing industry continues booming, which has led to the the town of Yiwu (a city of about 1.2m people in central Zhejiang province) being christened "China's Christmas village." The town has become the home of 600 factories that collectively churn out over 60% of all the world's Christmas decorations and accessories. The "elves" that staff these factories are mainly migrant labourers, working 12 hours a day for a maximum of £200 to £300 a month – and it turns out that all of them are not even entirely sure what Christmas is. Nevertheless, there are corridors lined with nothing but tinsel, streets throbbing with competing LED light shows, stockings of every size, plastic Christmas trees in blue and yellow and fluorescent pink, plastic pine cones in gold and silver. The complex of Yiwu International Trade Market was declared by the United Nations to be the "largest small commodity wholesale market in the world" and the scale of the operation necessitates a kind of urban plan, with this festival of commerce organised into five different districts, of which District Two is solely dedicated for Christmas stuff.

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